New Cabinet must take bolder action to make Scotland fairer & greener

Scottish Green MSPs are urging Nicola Sturgeon's new Cabinet to take bolder action on making Scotland fairer and greener.

Today's reshuffle means Health Secretary Shona Robison is to be replaced by Social Security minister Jeane Freeman.

Alison Johnstone MSP, Health and Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:

“The role of Health Secretary is clearly one of the most challenging in Government.  Shona Robison has shown serious commitment and I wish her well for the future. 

"The NHS faces serious, systemic challenges, and they will not all be quick or easy to overcome. Staff and patients want to see meaningful improvements to services.  GP recruitment and retention is a major problem in so many parts of Scotland, and our hospitals will take the strain if that isn't addressed.  

"The Greens want to see clearer leadership on priority areas like General Practice, mental health, and workforce planning across the health and social care sector.  It is also time for a renewed focus on how well our NHS is supporting the long term health of children and young people."

Alison added:

"Jeane Freeman has been an extremely effective Minister for Social Security and I have enjoyed working with her over the past two years. The Social Security Act was a landmark piece of legislation for the Scottish Parliament, and one which was strengthened by Ms Freeman's work on it and her willingness to listen to other parties to and stakeholders. If, as we all hope, the new system will be respectful, dignified and more effective than the UK system it is in part replacing, then Jeane Freeman can take rightly take pride in that.

"I hope her successor - Shirley-Anne Somerville - will continue Ms Freeman's work on social security in the same open, consultative manner."

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said:

"Two years on from the Holyrood election in which the SNP lost their majority, the need for bold action from Scottish Ministers has never been greater. We face serious threats from Brexit and the climate crisis but also opportunities to tackle inequality, create a fairer economy, and improve the education and transport people rely on every day. 

"Green MSPs have been leading the change in this session of parliament, influencing budgets, the income tax system and social security legislation, and fighting for the environment. We'll continue to bring constructive challenge to the new ministerial team."